Nottingham Food Festival – Wollaton Park

Yesterday my parents and I headed to Wollaton Park for the Nottingham Food Festival, an event run by Living Heritage. We arrived at around 11.30am and the place was already busy, the car park filling up nicely. With the view of Wollaton Hall in the background and a dry forecast, it was set to be a lovely day.

The festival is geared towards foodies and families. With numerous stall catering to your food fancies, and loads to do with the kids, it really is a great day out.

The kids can meet hamsters, paint ornaments, make pots and create sand art. There is also a puppet show to entertain them!

For foodies, as well as cookery demonstrations (Theo Randall and Edd Kimber on Saturday & Matt Tebbutt and Chantelle Nicolson on Sunday) they also have a roadshow area showcasing some of the East Midlands best talent.

There are also the chainsaw artists, creating beautiful art from massive blocks of wood. Speed carving competitions occur twice a day and they are fascinating to watch. You can also bid on the carvings at the end and take a piece home with you.

The ‘moment in time’ re-enactors were also a joy to chat to. I learned they used arsenic to kill off syphilis and a whole host of other olden time medications! If you’re ill, come and see me!

They were also showcasing traditional Polish cooking and they had recipe cards you could take away. I’ll be trying the beetroot soup recipe soon.

There was a great range of food and drink stands, including Thai, Greek, BBQ and Vietnamese.

The Prosecco Van is run by two lovely ladies, friends since they attended Brownies many years ago. They had a range of prosecco cocktails on offer that made me regret offering to drive!

Juniper 1933 is a Gin based bar housed in an old horse box. It’s gorgeous! The ladies that run it were so lovely and friendly, and I hope to see them at more festivals (when I don’t have to drive home!) Their Masons lavender gin topped with ginger ale was divine.

Creating a lovely atmosphere was a saxophone band, Hot House Saxaphonix wandering around the festival playing some great music including Build me up buttercup and Hold my hand by Jess Glynn.

On to the retailers, here are my picks…

It was lovely to see some favourites of mine, including Pig in the Middle and The Giggly Pig Company, along with some new exhibitors.

Pig in the Middle create some of the most flavourful artisan sausage rolls I have ever tasted. This time we went for the black pudding and bacon, sweet chilli, tikka and mango and chorizo & garlic. We each had a different favourite and mine was by far and away the tikka.

The Giggly Pig have a sample section where you can try before you buy. With over 20 flavours to choose from on the day, this is definitely needed. They are based in Romford in Essex so if you manage to catch them at a festival I would recommend stocking up. They actually have over 75 flavours! I went for my favourite, the marmite, along with a traditional hog roast and a lemon and fennel. My freezer is now well stocked!

Yorkshire Drizzle, a family run business, create a range of oils and balsamic vinegars that will brighten up any meal. My favourite was the cumin and coriander.

Colonsay Gin is produced in batches of 750 bottles and contains 16 botanicals to give a very refreshing (if potent) taste. Hints of spice and lemon were very distinct and it pairs amazingly with fever tree tonic.

Rose Cottage liqueurs are based in Liverpool and this is the second time I have seen them exhibit. Last year I bought their rhubarb infused gin and their elderflower. Unfortunately for my bank account, they have some new liqueurs on show. I walked away with large bottles of their plum & pear, peach & ginger and rhubarb & rose. It won’t take me long to get through it though as it was fantastic! In fact we started the rhubarb & rose last night, it was gorgeous with lemonade.

The Garlic Farm from the Isle of Wight were also attending, bringing with them a huge selection of garlic produce. My favourite is the garlic mayo, which is packed full of flavour and great on potatoes! The onion marmalade is also one to try!

B is for Brownie showcased a wide range of gluten free brownies, made from single origin chocolate. They were velvety and so rich, with a variety of flavours.

Masons Yorkshire Gin do one of my all time favourites, lavender gin. It is incredible with lemonade, tonic, ginger beer, you name it, it works. I love it.

Old Vodka showcased a variety of flavoured vodkas, including a tarragon infusion. As a lover of sambucca, this was fantastic. They also offer lemon, passion fruit, honey, caramel and coffee. They had gorgeous stackable 10cl bottles too, perfect for Christmas pressies.

The Wiltshire Chilli Farm specialise in the cultivation of chilli plants, grown on their farm in Wiltshire. I’m not a fan of chilli but my dad is and he spent a long time at this stall sampling all the produce.

E+M Glass produce stunning pieces of art! From drinking glasses to vases, paperweights to jewellery, their stuff is exquisite. One day I will own a piece of their work.

The Nottingham Food Festival is a fantastic day out. We were incredibly lucky that the sun decided to peak through the clouds yesterday, but there are plenty of coverings if the rain had decided to start. If you have a spare couple of hours today and no plans, pop along. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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